Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/728

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Brigadier-General Wirt Adams, of Mississippi, was one of the most dauntless cavalry leaders of the war. Of him it has been written: "With jeweled consistency, Gen. Wirt Adams declined a position in the Confederate cabinet, and rode continuously and fearlessly through the whirlwind of war. Handsome as Philip the Fair, he stood six feet in his stirrups, the noblest paladin of the South who rode to war. At the court of Philip Augustus he would have led the nobles; at the court of England, he would have led the barons, and with the Crusaders, he would have ridden abreast with Godfrey Bouillon or Richard Cœur de Lion. One of the first to step upon the arena of strife; at his command, the smoke of battle canopied the last scene of the Civil War." During the organization of secession he was a commissioner from Mississippi to Louisiana to ask that State to join the movement, and when President Davis was inaugurated he was tendered the office of postmaster-general of the Confederate States. Declining this for more active service, he went to work to recruit soldiers for the army, raised a regiment known as the First Mississippi cavalry, and was commissioned colonel October 15, 1861. During the following months he was engaged generally in scouting and picket duty, under Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, occasionally skirmishing with the enemy. With Van Dorn in Mississippi, he served as chief of artillery in the battle of Corinth. In the campaign in Tennessee and north Mississippi, both before and after Shiloh, he was ever on the move with his command until the name of Wirt Adams was famous throughout the West. When the Federals were advancing upon Chattanooga under Negley in the summer of 1862, Adams, with a smaller